In 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul encourages us to be thankful and joyful whatever situation we find ourselves in: ‘Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’ (v.16-18 NIV). That doesn’t mean we have to like our circumstances, or that we have to be thankful for them. But even when things are going well, when it’s easier to live out Paul’s words, we can feel discontented and dissatisfied with life. So today, let’s try to unpick some of the reasons we might feel this way. 1) We’re looking for happiness in the wrong places. God said: ‘My people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me – the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!’ (Jeremiah 2:13 NLT). There’s an emptiness within us that only God can fill, and He will, if we invite Him in. 2) Neglecting to serve others. How we treat others can be a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. Refusing to forgive others might stem from a refusal to forgive ourselves, or we might be more inclined to be kind to others when we treat ourselves kindly. 3) Comparing ourselves with others. When we resent someone else’s achievements or level of blessing, our own joy drains away. The Message paraphrases Romans 12: ‘We are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around…So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvellously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves…or trying to be something we aren’t’ (v.4-6 MSG).
Do any of the three points in today’s reading resonate with you? Re-read the point (or points) that you would like to work on, and then pray about any thoughts or promptings that it’s brought up for you.
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